Critical situations open and reveal the true face of a person. At times we don’t expect definite
reactions from ourselves, which we expect from other people instead.
Yesterday’s friend with whom we shared one mind, can today become our most evil enemy
because of the different views on current events, having a different assessment of what is
And not only friendships, but the oneness of the family unit may as well not be able to
endure because of the outside influences. Stressful and powerful circumstances have become
a serious threat to interpersonal relations. Not wanting to give in, being able to have patience
with another’s shortcomings, the ability to empathize, recognizing personal fault; the inability to
respect opposing views, the inability to hold one’s tongue when necessary has led to a crisis
with unthinkable results.
Relationships between colleagues and coworkers have suffered. Someone hoped for
material support from our leaders and received none, being left without means for existence.
Someone brushes off requests for help, saving himself and his own situation. There’s yet
another sign of the present times. The falling of idols. Disappointment and confusion have
become instilled in the hearts of many people. Today’s trials have undermined from many their
trust in earthly authorities. The one who was treated as an idol, or the other who was
considered higher and more important than Christ, has come crashing down and is smashed
into small pieces. And in this is determined God’s Providence.
“Don’t create idols for yourself”,—proclaims the second commandment. But we are always
creating them. From people, entertainments, health, science, physicians, money, position, and
the arts. Scholars suggest that the powers of science can create worlds, people. They oppose God. A physician believes that she can save mankind, forgetting about God’s will. Money is
ascribed with undefeatable power, and not God. Art compels the passions of men, and not the
Glory of God. Nothing must replace Christ in our life. Not work, not family, not the passions,
not people, whatever position they may have.
Nothing must own us. If somewhere there is a distortion: in attachments, attitudes —
there always follows correction from on high. The stronger we hold on to our passions, the
more difficult and painful will be the separation (literally, the “tearing away”).
We don’t need anyone in this world except for Christ. These or other paths lead us to these
saving thoughts. Mankind must hope only in God. God—the one and only reality, and only in
Him is it necessary to search for truth.
It is not necessary to fear changes or crises. With the correct understanding and attitude,
they will always lead to better things. It is possible that some people will disappear from our
lives, by virtue of various reasons, and we must let them go. That would be best for everyone.
And on the other hand, there are others on whose account we need to struggle not to lose. We
may be insufficiently sincere, good, long-suffering and just with them. And the crisis has
shown, that there is a crack, a split on which we need to work. Someone reveals his true face,
and this is also good, there will be fewer illusions and false arrangements. God—this is always
a change. He sends us changes, shocks, crises for the re-consideration of what is valuable, in
order that we would always change, and not remain unmoving. The movement towards God—
the unceasing changing of ourselves, even if only a little bit and not substantial, but yet a
recognizable change for the better. Without internal changes, there is no movement towards
God. When we change, we are moving. I would wish that we would understand those
suggestions, which have been given to us during the last months. Understood and became
better and more tolerant and humble towards each other. That we learned to value every
moment of life, good people and the endless mercy of God.
Translated by Archpriest Peter Olsen